NOLA Brewing’s President Kirk Coco brought brewing back, hopping up the industry in New Orleans
Kirk Coco never thought he would own a brewery. “My mom wanted me to be a lawyer, but I hated it.” After earning his BA and Juris Doctorate from Louisiana State University and his MBA from the University of New Orleans, Coco decided to join the military. At the age of 28, he joined the Navy and enjoyed a career lasting eleven years as a Surface Warfare Officer. “I was lucky enough to travel the world; Asia, Australia, Spain, Italy” he recalled, “and it made me realize how unique New Orleans really is.”
Like many native New Orleanians living away from home, Coco returned after the levee failures in 2005 to help the city start anew. He also knew that no matter how many times he moved away, he would always come back home. He believes that “when you are born here, you’ll live here for life.” Coco’s investment in the future of New Orleans took the form of a brewery because he was upset that Dixie, a long-time New Orleans brewer, gave in under the pressures of Katrina and moved operations to Wisconsin.
NOLA Brewing located in the Irish Channel has been operating now since 2008, founded by Coco and Peter Caddoo, the skilled former brewmaster of Dixie Beer. The brewery doubled production every year since it’s inception, a slow growth, but that’s just the way they want it. “We want our focus to be on quality.” says Coco.
Visit the Tchoupitoulas Street brewery for a free tour where you can meet the staff and drink free NOLA beer. Taste their classic stout, NOLA Brown with hints of chocolate, coffee and caramel or sip on a seasonal Flambeau Red with seven malts and three different hop varieties. Along with many bars and stores in town (an all over the Gulf Coast), you can find NOLA brews at different local events like Hogs for the Cause, their annual Easter Keg Hunt and Jazz in the Park that’s coming up on May 30th in Armstrong Park.
*Article originally posted in the April 2013 issue of New Orleans Living Magazine